On November 2, 2021, persons claiming to be members of the Quezon City Police Department went to the national office of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) in Manila to unlawfully investigate a labor dispute involving its affiliate, the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU). The FCCU, an affiliate of the IUF, is engaged in a labour dispute at Coca-Cola Philippines over deadlocked wage bargaining and a national campaign for reinstatement of unfairly terminated union leaders.
This police harassment occurs in the context of ongoing intimidation and fear involving red-tagging.
Below is the SENTRO statement on recent harassment of trade union offices. The statement is also available here in PDF.
Progressive, Independent Trade Unionism is not the Enemy of Peace
November 3, 2021
Trade Unions play an important part in protecting working people, especially during this present COVID-19 pandemic. Unions are always the first to stand up for workers when they are denied decent wages, safe working conditions, adequate rest, and dignified lives. Beyond our workplace, the trade union movement has been a steadfast ally of progress, democracy, and social justice. It is, therefore, alarming when trade unions come under attack, as this is a clear sign of political repression.
The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) condemns the recent round of police surveillance and harassment of workers’ organizations in Metro Manila.
On November 2, 2021, persons claiming to be members of the Quezon City Police Department went to SENTRO’s premises in NCR inquiring about a labor dispute involving its affiliate, the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU). The FCCU is currently in the middle of a labor dispute against Coke Philippines for its unfair treatment of its workforce (see #SaveCokeWorkers for more details). Without relevant legal documents officially identifying and authorizing them and stating the purpose of their visit, they repeatedly asked for information regarding SENTRO’s office, the other unions present there, and their activities.
Further adding to their suspicious behavior, the alleged police personnel also went to the premises of the Trade Union Confederation of the Philippines (TUCP) compound in Quezon City. They inquired about the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition, of which SENTRO is a part.
These acts have no other effect but to harass trade unionists. Why should our police force waste valuable time and resources to snoop around union offices? Given important matters police should attend to, surveillance of legitimate trade union work should not be among these.
We call on the PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar to explicitly order the end to any attempts at and acts of intimidating or harassing trade unionists. We urge him to meet with union leaders and engage in a meaningful dialogue on how the PNP can truly help uphold the Constitutional right to freedom of association.
Progressive, independent trade unionism is not the enemy of peace. A unionized and empowered working class is the bedrock of a free and prosperous society.